Uncharted territory means dealing with unknowns, as commercial customers are learning to move their fleets toward battery electric vehicles. Ford Pro is helping manage the anxieties this kind of uncertainty brings by helping to make the transition to an electric future easy, bundling vehicles with charging solutions and telematics software to offer a one-stop shop for businesses to accelerate productivity.
A Ford Pro survey of U.S. fleet purchasing decision makers reveals nearly three-quarters of these commercial customers from small businesses to large fleets feel pressure to adopt electric vehicles, while more than 60% considering electric vehicles planning to adopt the technology within two years. Today, the list of forward-thinking companies adding the benefits of Ford Pro grows again with the announcement of two new collaborations.
Wilbur-Ellis, a global distribution leader in sustainable agriculture products and consulting, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California’s leading electricity provider serving northern and central California, are announcing plans to add Ford battery electric trucks and vans, Ford Pro Charging solutions, charging software and Ford Pro E-Telematics† to their fleets.
“At Ford Pro, we’re aligning our business model to support customers who want to create a positive impact on people and the planet,” said Ted Cannis, Ford Pro CEO. “We know the transition to electric vehicles can come with uncertainties. That’s why we’re focused on working with pioneers like Wilbur-Ellis and PG&E, helping them quickly realize the benefits of combining electric vehicles with charging solutions and data insights to help achieve their sustainability goals, improve how energy is managed, accelerate their productivity and improve bottom lines.”
Wilbur-Ellis plans to add F-150 Lightning Pro trucks, Ford Pro Charging solutions, charging software and in-vehicle telematics into its fleet in Sonoma County and the Salinas Valley of California. As part of the strategy to meet its stringent new sustainability goals, the company will integrate 10 battery electric trucks initially, while learning to optimize energy solutions alongside Dutton Ranch, a longtime Wilbur-Ellis customer that is already testing Ford Pro vehicles, charging and software in real-world farming conditions as part of a pilot program with the Sonoma County Winegrowers.
“We’re very excited to be early adopters of the new Ford F-150 Lightning Pro trucks and to deploy them in a commercial agricultural setting,” said John Buckley, Wilbur-Ellis president and CEO. “This collaboration is a win for everyone. Our customers will benefit from the information we gather about the impact these vehicles could have in their operations.”
The Ford Pro survey also reveals more than 50% of commercial customers see infrastructure setup as a top concern in transitioning to electric. Ford Pro Charging is a critical part of the solution, helping businesses large and small potentially reduce operating costs by optimizing the best time to charge vehicles, in addition to offering consulting services to help businesses plan, install and maintain charging services based upon their unique needs.
PG&E is continuing its ongoing electric vehicle collaboration with Ford, announced in March, now with Ford Pro to add charging hardware and software solutions to select F-150 Lightning Pro trucks into its California fleet. The company will begin testing energy management improvements using Ford’s vehicle-to-grid technology. As part of the initiative, PG&E will assimilate the electric vehicles into its fleet operations alongside Ford Pro charging stations and explore leveraging the F-150 Lightning Pro batteries to shave peak energy usage at one of its depot locations.
“We are in a transformative moment at the intersection of the utility and transportation industries and we have a very real opportunity in front of us to deliver for our customers, business owners, hometowns – and our planet – for the better,” said Jason Glickman, Executive Vice President, Engineering, Planning, and Strategy, PG&E. “PG&E’s collaboration with some of the world’s leading automakers will allow us to engage in the full ecosystem of potential with original equipment manufacturers, like Ford, to advance bi-directional EV charging technologies for a cleaner, safer and brighter future for all.”
Today’s announcement coincides with a pilot program between Ford Pro and Sonoma County Winegrowers, designed to create a blueprint for how industries and companies can best adopt and manage battery electric vehicles for the next frontier in sustainable fleet operations using Ford Pro products and services. The pilot includes seamlessly integrating Ford Pro Telematics into farmers’ existing gas fleets.
“We have over 50 vehicles on Ford Pro Telematics and have already identified insights that are improving our bottom line like long idle times costing us an estimated $24,000 per year in wasted gas,” said Marissa Ledbetter of Vino Farms in Sonoma County. “Ford Pro Telematics has improved efficiency and productivity by helping us reduce vehicle downtime through complete visibility into maintenance needs, and we expect those benefits to grow as electric vehicles and charging stations become a more regular part of our operations.”
Already in these early weeks, the pilot program has sparked interest from ranches around Sonoma County exploring ways to operate more efficiently. As a result, Sonoma County Winegrowers has offered Ford Pro Telematics to all 1,800 members for one year as farmers look for ways to improve efficiency, even in fleets of gas-powered vehicles.
Ford Pro Telematics is designed to work on Ford and non-Ford vehicles alike to ensure customers can leverage the benefits of the software across their entire fleet.
Ford Pro is also helping government agencies and businesses of all sizes do their part to address the urgency of climate change and help accelerate progress toward a sustainable future by showing them the clear advantages of an electric ecosystem. Ford Pro recently launched relationships with industry leaders on sustainability such as United Rentals, Penske Truck Leasing and Sunbelt Rentals.